The electric Mini E may have been designed for eco-friendly urban transport, but it apparently can hold its own on a racetrack. BMW revealed that a race-prepped version of its electric test vehicle recently took to the hallowed Nürburgring in Germany, and managed to post a respectable lap time.
"The aim of this unique undertaking was to provide an impressive showcase of the great potential of the Mini E and its environment-friendly drive concept," said Peter Krams, who led the project.
Modifications to the car were limited. Along with adding a roll cage, and beefing up the Mini E's suspension, brakes, and tires, engineers tweaked the powertrain controller programming and revised the gearing to maximize performance. Apart from that, the car was stock -- a 150-kW (204 horsepower) electric motor drives the front wheels, powered by a massive lithium ion battery pack placed where the rear seats would normally lie.
To set the result, BMW placed Thomas Jäger -- a former DTM racer and the 2006 Mini Challenge champion -- behind the wheel. According to the automaker, the Mini EV lapped the Nordschleife circuit in 9:51:45, ultimately reaching a top speed of 116 mph on the 12.9-mile loop. A respectable time, but, given the extremely wet and foggy conditions, we imagine Jäger can eke out an improvement.
"The power of the electric motor has an incredible effect," said Jäger, "as you can access its full reserves of torque at all times."
"The length and profile of the Nürburgring place extreme demands on the technology of our electric car," Krams said. "But the Mini E Race met this considerable challenge with great authority."
To watch footage of the Mini E scooting around the Nürburgring, click here.